'Government is extra prepared to fight Coronavirus'

Updated: Apr 13, 2020, 07:46 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Nation records 918 new COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths in 24 hrs; health ministry says govt expanding testing facilities

Hospital staff walk through a newly constructed sanitising tunnel at Hindu Rao Hospital, during the nationwide lockdown, in New Delhi. Pic/PTI
Hospital staff walk through a newly constructed sanitising tunnel at Hindu Rao Hospital, during the nationwide lockdown, in New Delhi. Pic/PTI

As many as 918 COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of such cases to 8,447 in the country, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday, while asserting that the government is "extra prepared" if there is an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus patients.

Addressing a press briefing, Health Ministry's Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said the government is expanding the COVID-19 testing capacity in state-run as well as private medical colleges. "The total number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 8,447. A total of 918 new cases and 34 deaths have been reported since Saturday. The good news is that 716 people have recovered and have been discharged so far. Seventy-four people have been cured since Saturday. The government is extra prepared if the number of cases rises exponentially," he said.

"We are working on an urgent basis to expand the capacity for COVID-19 testing in government and private medical colleges across the country. Fourteen mentor institutes, including the AIIMS and NIMHANS, have been identified to mentor the medical colleges and expand the coronavirus testing capacity," Agarwal added.

According to ICMR officials, a total of 1,86,906 samples have so far been tested across the country, of which 7,953 have been found positive for COVID-19. "In the last five days, on an average, 15,747 samples were tested per day and 584 of those were found to be positive per day," an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official said at the press briefing. Responding to a question about development of vaccines, he said, "There are 40 plus candidate vaccines that are under development but none of them has reached the next stage."

Relief distribution pictures banned

District magistrate, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has banned circulation of photos and videos showing distribution of relief on social media sites.

'Bengal not fighting a communal virus'

The Centre and the West Bengal government on Saturday pressed a confrontationist button over the Union Home Ministry writing to the state chief secretary and the director general of police seeking action against the 'dilution' of lockdown measures in the state, and over permission for religious gatherings given by the state cops. Hitting back, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hinted that the Centre had a communal stand and said her government was now busy fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and not any "communal virus".

AP govt introduces apps for food delivery

The Arunachal Pradesh government has introduced various Apps including 'U Tell Us' and 'Dukan Dada' to ensure essentials reach at the doorsteps of the people, officials said on Sunday. Besides the AP government, other state governments of the northeastern region have taken some fresh measures to maintain supply of essentials for effective enforcement of the lockdown.

No food, woman throws kids in river

In a shocking incident on Sunday, a woman threw her five children into the Ganga river in Jeghangirabad in Uttar Pradesh's Bhadohi district. As soon as the police were informed, senior officers reached the spot and divers were pressed into service to locate the kids. The woman has been arrested. Sources, meanwhile, said that the woman had earlier said that she and her children were not getting food in the lockdown.

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